By Tess Malijenovsky
The Tourism Management Advisory Commission (TMAC) came to Beaufort City Council once again in hopes of passing an ordinance that would, among other things, change hours of operation on Thursdays to accommodate for family day on Paris Island, change the bid process for touring horse carriage slots, and change the point system to allow for stricter violation laws. Tour business owners are upset and fear that these changes will not only take them completely out of business, but that they simply won’t work.
Two-thirds of the complaints that TMAC receives are from the actual touring personnel. It’s carriage war between horse buggy companies.
Local tour carriage companies are out to get one another, dropping manure and urine chalk intentionally onto the streets to frame the competitor. In fact, the biggest challenge that TMAC currently faces is mediating between the two competing tour companies, Carolina Buggy Tours and Southurn Rose Buggy Tours.
Law enforcement is frustrated that current laws don’t allow for immediate citations when one company tattletales on the other; and the tour carriage business owners fear that even with a point system (similar to that of driving licenses) it will always be one man’s word against the other’s and that convictions will never be penalized because they cannot be proved. Furthermore, the bid process amendment to the ordinance is a cutthroat suggestion that may eliminate this petty competition, but business owners fear will also eliminate their livelihood and investments.
After nearly an hour and a half of debate and raised concerns, Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling motioned to continue the conversation for the following week since it was evident that no solution would be made that night.
In other news, council members will not increase taxes for the 2012 fiscal year Operating Budget. They also approved an extension to an agreement with Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire Department to serve residents on Lady’s Island on a contract basis.
By Tess Malijenovsky